Big data integration : Pan-European fungal species observations' assembly for addressing contemporary questions in ecology and global change biology

Andrew, Carrie; Heegaard, Einar; Kirk, Paul M.; Bässler, Claus; Heilmann-Clausen, Jacob; Krisai-Greilhuber, Irmgard; Kuijper, Thomas; Senn-Irlet, Beatrice; Büntgen, Ulf; Kauserud, Håvard


Species occurrence observations are increasingly available for scientific analyses through citizen science projects and digitization of museum records, representing a largely untapped ecological resource. When combined with open-source data, there is unparalleled potential for understanding many aspects of the ecology and biogeography of organisms. Here we describe the process of assembling a pan-European mycological meta-database (ClimFun) and integrating it with open-source data to advance the fields of macroecology and biogeography against a backdrop of global change. Initially 7.3 million unique fungal species fruit body records, spanning nine countries, were processed and assembled into 6 million records of more than 10,000 species. This is an extraordinary amount of fungal data to address macro-ecological questions. We provide two examples of fungal species with different life histories, one ectomycorrhizal and one wood decaying, to demonstrate how such continental-scale meta-databases can offer unique insights into climate change effects on fungal phenology and fruiting patterns in recent decades.